Capri Salad: Validation of nutrient content and development of post harvest protocols
Due to the increased demand from consumers for pre packaged mixed salad products there is increased focus from salad producers to commercialise new salad ingredients that have superior taste, longevity, taste, and health benefits. The Capri Salad project focused on the validation of nutritional content and development of agronomic and postharvest protocols necessary to commercialise a new category of legume derived fresh cut green salad leaf suitable for pre-packaged salad products. The project then further considered the commercial outcomes for the product based on consumer response testing and commercial trials. The use of legume sprouts as salad ingredients is currently not widespread and there is limited awareness in the industry as to the nutritional value, taste, and longevity of these products. This project aimed to demonstrate the favourable product characteristics in this context using our prescribed growing method and by developing an appropriate post harvest protocol, brand user manual, nutritional data, and commercial production. The result of the project was the ranging of Capri salad punnets in a number of independent fruit shops in Sydney and a clear set of documents that outline the growing, post harvest, branding, and health claims of the product. This will allow growers and wholesalers to more easily grow and market the product with predictable returns. We are in active discussions to grow and wholesale the product in Queensland and Victoria with a future intention to launch the product in America in 2012. In addition to the returns from the sale of the product, there are additional benefits for growers that have been identified, including increased nitrogen content in the soil and use of margin land to grow a high yielding product. Further work is being carried out with individual growers to measure increased total yield from areas of land where Capri is used as a rotational crop in between their normal crop cycles.